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Hayley Williams - Petals For Armor

On Friday we got the debut solo album from Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams. This has to be one of the most anticipated albums of the year, not just for me but for many others as well. It was clear very early on though that this project would be very different to Paramore in sound. This is clear from the first single and opening track from the album ‘Simmer’ which still stands as one of my favourites from the album.

The start is captivating, it’s something different and you feel yourself being dragged in and wanting to hear more, whether you are familiar with Paramore’s work or not. It’s very hard to compare the two projects, as sonically they are so different. Something else that caught me almost straight away was how good the production on this album, well done Taylor York. I would encourage you to listen to this album through headphones on your first listen as there are things that I may not have picked up on straight away otherwise, and some of these smaller details really impact the overall feeling of the album. There are some really interesting layers of sound here that are crafted expertly. This is something that continues throughout the album, and something I find that makes it such a unique sound, especially in what would be considered mainstream music.

This is a very personal project for Hayley Williams, she really bares her soul lyrically here and that is shown not only in the lyrical content but the instrumentation of the album. It’s simpler but it works so well. It takes courage to open up as much as Williams has on this album lyrically, so I applaud her for that. Musically to me the album almost feels mystical, the atmosphere that is being created is something different but again it fits so well. This is something I feel is also shown clearly in the music videos created for this album. I like how experimental Williams has been on this album, unafraid to try new things; there are no boundaries, its pure art.

The power heard on Sudden Desire in the chorus is euphoric, maybe it’s because I’ve been waiting to hear that power vocally from Williams, but then this shows the incredible control Williams has vocally. The control shown in the song is so good but it contradicts the lyrical content which makes me wonder if it has been done on purpose? This again to me shows how much thought has gone into this project. Overall on this album Hayley Williams’ vocals are incredible and breath-taking as always, but the skill shown here is amazing. We can hear the power she has and what she’s capable of, but how she chooses to control the vocals and only break out when needed, or to show the emotion in a song.

The chorus on Dead Horse is catchy, it’s a more pop tinged song. It sounds happy which again contradicts the lyrics, which to me is reminiscent of After Laughter. It’s a really enjoyable song. I like the harmonies used on the album, another area where Williams’ vocal ability is shown, though this is not surprising if you are familiar with Paramore.

Over Yet is another song with a catchy chorus, there’s no doubt here that Williams knows how to write a good song, this is something that is shown time and time again on this album. I like the groove on Over Yet too and I can see this song growing on me more with more listens of the album. Why We Ever left me speechless, the lyrics are beautiful and heart-breaking and I have no other notes for that song.

Pure Love opens the third section of the album and it’s another catchy song with good grooves and it’s here I can hear the 80’s/90’s influences that Williams spoke about in an interview with NME. I think those influences are more obvious to me on the songs in the third section of the album. I love the chorus on Pure Love. Sugar On The Rim is almost a disco song, again another different side of Williams’ music .The closer of the album Crystal Clear sees Williams’ trying to be more optimistic lyrically, though that may not be as clear at first, and I really like the drumming and percussion at the start of the track.

Those are my thoughts on Petals For Armor, I would recommend listening to the album, though it may take a few listens to fully enjoy it as it’s definitely something different. I think the experimentation that Williams shows here is great and the vocals are incredible, York’s production captures everything perfectly, and it truly shows what artists these people are.

Favourite Tracks: Simmer, Cinnamon, Sudden Desire, Dead Horse, Over Yet, Why We Ever, Pure Love.

Let me know what you think of the album in the comments below or on Facebook, do you like the direction Hayley Williams has gone here?

Until next time,


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